HRL Policy Guide 2018-2019

The Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Office of Housing and Residence Life (HRL) upholds all state, local, and federal laws as well as the GVSU Student Code and all documented University Policies. Housing policies are designed to support the mission and goals of HRL. Violation of the housing specific policies and procedures outlined below may result in referral through the HRL Conduct Process and/or referred to the Office of Student Conduct.

For a printable copy of these policies, click HERE.

Section 1 Access & Credentials


Access cards are University property, issued to residents with an active housing contract. Access cards may not be loaned or transferred to other residents, students, or guests. Lost access cards should be reported immediately to the assigned residential service desk. A spare access card will be issued to the resident. Spare access cards must be returned within seven days or a replacement card will be ordered. Access cards must be returned as instructed at the end of the contract period.

1.2 EXTERIOR DOORS                                              

Exterior building doors are locked to ensure safety of residents. The propping open of any locked entrance or exit door is prohibited. Residents may not allow building access to individuals who are not building residents.

In the case that an exterior building door is found to be propped open and the individual responsible is not found, a public area charge will be billed and distributed among all building residents.

1.3 KEYS

Unit and mailbox keys are University property, issued to students with an active housing contract. Keys may not be loaned or transferred to other residents, students, or guests. Lost keys should be reported immediately to the assigned residential service desk. A spare key will be issued to the resident. Spare keys must be returned within seven days or the unit door will be re-cored and new keys ordered for each roommate. Keys must be returned as instructed at the end of the contract period. Unreturned keys will result in a re-core charge.


Students are expected to carry their keys and access cards with them at all times. Should a resident be locked out of their assigned unit, they may seek assistance from their assigned residential service desk during desk hours or from their community RA on duty after hours. 


Students are required by the Student Code to carry their University issued identification card while on University grounds. Students must present this ID card when requested by University staff including HRL staff and GVPD.

Section 2 Alcohol & Drugs


Possession, use, manufacturing, production, or distribution, or aiding in the use, manufacturing, production, or distribution of any controlled substance or drug paraphernalia is prohibited by the Student Code. This includes misuse of prescription medications. The possession or use of marijuana in any form, including medical marijuana is strictly prohibited.


Traditional, Suite, Cluster, and Apartment-style Living Centers are alcohol free environments. Alcohol in any form is not permitted in these buildings, regardless of the age of the resident or guest. Residents and guests may not store or possess alcohol, empty containers, or alcohol paraphernalia (such as shot glasses, beer steins, etc). This includes containers used as decoration. Individuals in violation will forfeit any cans or bottles confiscated from their possession.


Residents and guests who are 21 years of age or older may consume and store alcohol in the privacy of their room/apartment in Calder Apartments, Grand Valley Apartments, Laker Village Apartments, Murray Living Center, Niemeyer Living Center, Secchia Hall, South Apartments C, D, E, VanSteeland Living Center, and Winter Hall with other students who are 21 years of age or older. Students who have not reached the age of 21 are considered underage. Underage residents and guests may not store or possess alcohol, empty containers, or alcohol paraphernalia (such as shot glasses, beer steins, etc). This includes containers used as decoration.

Underage residents or guests are not to be present when alcohol is being consumed.

Kegs, bongs, and open parties, are prohibited. Open containers of alcohol are not permitted in any public areas. Individuals in violation will forfeit any cans or bottles confiscated from their possession.

Section 3 Animals

3.1 PETS

The only approved pet allowed in campus housing are non-predatory aquarium fish in a 10-gallon tank or smaller. Unauthorized pets must be removed immediately, are subject to a $250 fine, and referral via the HRL Conduct Process and/or Office of Student Conduct.


GVSU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities and fulfilling obligations under State and Federal laws.  Click here to view the full policy that governs the use of assistance animals in campus housing by persons with disabilities.  Assistance animals are required to be licensed according to State of Michigan guidelines within the county of residence (Allendale or Kent).  Prior approval from HRL is required for exceptions to the HRL pet policy.  Students without a “memorandum of accommodation” from GVSU Disability Support Resources specifying approval will be assessed a fee up to $250.00.

Students requesting accommodation of assistance animals within campus housing are required to register each year they are residing in campus housing.  Please note that it may not be possible to accommodate requests made after the school year begins each fall. For guests of students requiring service animals, we require vaccination records and proof that the dog has a license just as we would for full time students. We also require them to sign our animal policy for housing which outlines the process for waste disposal, noise, the removal process if needed, etc. to ensure all procedures are being followed.


Students may not feed, taunt, or attempt to capture wild animals (cats, raccoons, etc.) in the areas surrounding living centers or elsewhere on campus.

Section 4 Community Living


Residents are responsible for the cleanliness of the assigned living space and shall reimburse the University for all cleaning costs in excess of normal cleaning expenses. Trash and recyclables must be removed and deposited in the appropriate receptacles.


Residents are responsible for the condition of the living space and all provided furnishings. Residents shall reimburse the University for all damage to the space or the furnishings, other than ordinary wear and tear. This includes damages to residential units, hallways, lounges, bathrooms, and public areas. When the individual responsible for the damages is unknown, these charges are prorated and divided among all the residents of the unit, wing, floor, or building collectively. Residents agree to provide any knowledge you may have regarding damage to avoid collective charges. Damages within shared living spaces are the combined responsibility of all students assigned. A comprehensive list of fees, fines, and charges may be found HERE.


Residents may have guests visit, provided they have made prior arrangements with their roommate(s) and have received their permission. Visitation does not mean cohabitation and a guest’s stay may not exceed two nights in a given week. The University reserves the right to limit the frequency of guest visits. 

Guests must observe all University regulations and must be accompanied by their host at all times. The resident with whom the guest is staying is responsible for any infractions or damage caused by their guest. Guests who obstruct or disrupt the orderly function of the residence facilities may also be asked to leave by HRL staff members or GVPD. Failure to comply with established building rules and regulations may result in forfeiture of building visitation privileges.


Laundry facilities are located within each residential building/community and machine operating cards are issued to students with an active housing contract. HRL is not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items. Residents are encouraged to attend to their laundry and promptly remove items from the washers and dryers. Abandoned clothing may be removed from a washer or dryer and placed on top of the machine.


Message boards/decorations are permitted to hang on the outside of residential units, using appropriate methods (i.e. removable tape) to affix them and not interfering with safety policies.  Message boards/decorations may not block the keyhole or hinder the door from closing properly.

Message boards are intended for positive language and community building within residential facilities. Negative, hate-filled, or intolerant messages are inconsistent with this intention. Should a student find a posted message offensive, they are encouraged to contact a HRL staff member and/or submit a Bias Incident Report by visiting


Public areas in the housing units constitute any area, aside from the individual room/apartment, to which all residents have access. Furniture in public areas is intended for community use and is not to be moved into student rooms or apartments.

Sleeping is not permitted in any public area.

Items left in the hallway, public area, great rooms, etc. are the responsibility of the resident. Personal belongings in these areas may not impede safe evacuation by residents or disrupt cleaning by University personnel. Any fires in fireplaces must be attended to at all times.


HRL is committed to the creation of residential communities that support an academic environment. Therefore, noise level in any unit may not negatively impact other community members. Courtesy hours are in effect at all times. Residents have the right to ask others to refrain from making noise when that noise interferes with study, sleep, or general use of the housing unit. If a resident requests another resident to lower the volume or reduce the amount of noise, the expectation is a prompt and positive response to that request.


Beyond courtesy hours, residents are required to restrict the noise level to allow for studying and sleeping during the following hours:

  • Sunday–Thursday from 10 p.m.–10 a.m.
  • Friday–Saturday from 12 a.m.–10 a.m.

Quiet hours also apply to noise made outside the building or in nearby parking lots. During finals weeks, quiet hours are in effect 24 hours per day.

Section 5 Compliance


Students are expected to provide accurate and truthful information and to comply with the directions of University officials or agents (which include HRL staff, GVPD, or other law enforcement entities) who are acting in good faith and in the performance of their duties.

Section 6 HRL Conduct Process


HRL staff members are obligated to report any Student Code, HRL policy, State law, Federal law, and local law violations to appropriate authorities. Residents documented for an alleged violation will be contacted by HRL or Office of Student Conduct staff. Timely response and compliance is expected as indicated in Section 5.1.


Sanctions may be imposed on residents found responsible for violation of HRL policies. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:

  • Warning
  • Educational Intervention
  • Fees/Fines/Charges
  • Community Service
  • Loss of Guest Privileges
  • Housing Probation
  • Housing Reassignment
  • Housing Suspension
  • Loss of Housing Privileges

Failure to complete or adhere to the terms of any sanction may result in additional sanctions.


Should a student wish to appeal a disciplinary charge or assigned sanction, they may submit a written appeal to the Director of Housing & Residence Life or designee within 5 business days of the receipt of charge or sanction. The appeal will be reviewed and a final determination will be made within ten business days of receipt of appeal.

Section 7 Facilities


Charges are used by HRL to reduce damage, protect residents, and to stabilize housing costs. These charges are billed directly to the resident’s student account. Damages within shared living spaces within a unit are the combined responsibility of all residents assigned. 

HRL staff will assess individual room/apartment damages after departure/check-out. It is the responsibility of the occupant(s) to pay for the replacement or repair of damaged property within a resident’s unit or in areas adjacent to it (i.e., windows, doors, and suite study areas).

If responsible parties cannot be identified fees may also be assessed within the community for actions including, but not limited to, leaving bags of trash in the hallway or propping open exterior building doors. Public area damage remaining after final check out will be divided and charged to each resident’s billing account. 


Residents are encouraged to personalize their living spaces within set guidelines. Residents may not paint their unit or make other alterations that impact the current condition of the walls, ceiling, window coverings, or flooring. Drilling, sawing, or attaching items to walls, floors, or ceilings with screws, nails, glue, or other devices is not allowed. Residents may not permanently alter walls, ceilings, or floors. Window furnishings may not be replaced or added in any way. 

The only HRL endorsed adhesive is blue painter’s tape. Wall damage caused by inappropriate removal of adhesive strips will result in damage charges. Adhesive strips are expressly prohibited in cluster style units. Cluster style residents are permitted to use thumb tacks in addition to blue painter’s tape.

Postings on the interior or exterior of unit doors may not cover more than 75% of the door and should be applied with blue painter’s tape. Postings or applied items may not cover peepholes or emergency procedure signs. 


The University reserves the right to make periodic inspections of living space for the purpose of inspection, verification of occupancy, safety, health, maintenance, or in the event there is evidence of violations of University rules and regulations. The University reserves the right to enter living spaces with or without occupants present for the purpose of facilities maintenance or reasonable cause to believe that established health, safety, or University rules and regulations are being violated.


All University-provided furniture and equipment must remain in the room or apartment as inventoried upon check-in. The removal of public area furniture is strictly prohibited. Residents are permitted to bring personal furniture and accessories to their unit and to move/set up University-provided or personal furniture within their unit (rearranging furniture is the responsibility of residents and assistance from housing staff members cannot be guaranteed). All roommates must be in agreement about the furniture arrangement. The following guidelines also apply to furniture within campus housing:

  • Furniture may be lofted or bunked using University instructions and University provided bed pins only.
  • Mattresses are provided and must remain in the residential unit. Non-University mattresses are prohibited.
  • The removal of window blinds and the addition of any window treatment or accessory is prohibited.
  • Furniture may not block vents, thermostats, or means of egress.
  • Furnishings belonging to the University may not be removed from the unit.
  • Upon move-out, all University-provided furniture must be present and set up to match the University layout standards.
  • All personal furniture and other belonging must be removed at move-out or will be subject to removal at the owner’s expense and forfeited. 
  • Residents will be charged for any damages to furniture not noted on the Room Condition Report.


The Health & Safety Check process has four primary goals: (1) find and correct any potential issues that may pose a threat to life, limb, or property; (2) ensure that the unit is hygienic and/or suitable for healthy living; (3) identify any potential facility issues that require a work order; (4) and identify any damages for which the resident may be responsible. The Health & Safety Check process occurs once a semester (October and March). Health & Safety Checks will be announced at least one week in advance of the inspection date. Should a unit fail the Health & Safety Check, residents will have 48 hours to correct the violation. Depending on the nature of the violation, damage charges and/or referral to the HRL Conduct Process may result.


Neither HRL nor GVSU are liable for any unforeseen occurrences or acts of negligence by residents, guests, or other persons. This includes damage or loss of property, injury to others, or inconvenience to residents, guests, or other persons. The university does not assume any legal obligation to pay for injury or loss or damage of personal property. Residents are advised to secure their own property protection through renters or homeowner’s insurance. 


Access to rooftops or balconies is prohibited. Residents may not access these areas or throw items on rooftops or balconies. Individuals accessing a balcony or rooftop of any housing unit will be referred for disciplinary action. Grand Valley Apartment balconies (including solariums) may not contain grills or University provided indoor furniture.


Some Grand Valley Apartment units include solariums. Solariums are enclosed porches and may not be used as bedrooms; therefore, sleeping in this area is not permitted. Doing so is a threat to a resident’s health and safety.


Windows may not be used as exits or entrances. Screens in all rooms and apartments must remain on the window at all times, except in cases of emergency. Removal of screens will result in associated fees/charges.

In order to avoid frozen pipes when temperatures are below freezing residents must keep unit windows closed and thermostats (where applicable) set at a minimum of 55°. Residents are liable for any damages caused by open windows resulting in frozen pipes.

Section 8 Health & Safety

HRL staff considers the safety and security of residents a top priority. To encourage a safe environment, we utilize a number of security measures. Maintaining a safe environment is everyone’s responsibility. 


  • One microwave of 1,000 watts or less is permitted per unit.
  • Refrigerators are not provided in traditional, suite, or cluster style. One refrigerator of 4.6 cubic feet or less is allowed per unit. No additional refrigerators are permitted in units in which a refrigerator is provided.


  • Cooking other than in a microwave within traditional, suite, or cluster style units is prohibited. Cooking is permitted in the community kitchens provided in traditional, suite, and cluster style units as well as in the kitchenettes provided in apartment-style living centers and campus apartments.


  • Decorative string lights are allowed with the following limitations: decorations and string lights must be affixed with approved adhesive and may not obstruct hallways, fire exits, exit signs or access to fire safety equipment. Residents must ensure that light bulbs and light strings do not come into contact with any combustible material. All lights must be labeled UL Certified.  No more than two strands may be plugged into an outlet or surge protector.  Strand lights may not exceed more than 25 feet in length.  Cords may not be run under doorways, carpets, rugs, or out of windows. Decorative lights must be turned off when the area is unattended. Use of string lights outside of the unit is prohibited in all buildings other than Laker Village.


  • Residents are expected to follow the prescribed emergency procedures or the directions of a Grand Valley staff member in case of accidents, threats, fire/explosions, tornado warning, unauthorized group action, or utilities failure. 
  • For more information on the University’s Emergency Preparedness plan and to sign up for the GV alert system, please visit


  • Altering, decorating, tampering with, or improperly engaging fire safety equipment is strictly prohibited.


  • In the event of an emergency, students should dial 911. HRL staff do not serve as medical first responders. Emergency Medical Technicians or other first-responders will be dispatched to students in need of medical attention. HRL staff may not transport students to or from a health care facility. Students in need of immediate medical attention will be advised to secure transportation from a friend, ambulance, or Rapid transportation service.


  • If a resident residing in campus housing is reported as missing by any individual, regardless of University affiliation, GVPD will be contacted and a wellness check will be conducted by HRL and/or GVPD staff. In the case that a student is confirmed missing for more than 24 hours, GVPD will generate a missing person report and conduct an investigation in conjunction with appropriate University staff and local law enforcement.

Section 9 Occupancy & Contract Terms

The full Fall 2018-Winter 2019 Housing Contract can be found HERE.

Failure to abide by the terms of the Housing Contract may result in referral to the HRL Conduct Process.


The University reserves the right to assign or reassign space in the best interest of the University. In instances in which a room or apartment is at 50% or less capacity, HRL may assign a resident to the open space or ask the remaining resident(s) to consolidate to rooms/apartments with other residents within the community who are in under-occupied spaces. If space is available residents may also be given the option of paying for the empty space in place of gaining a roommate. Unless a resident is paying for the empty space, it may not be utilized by remaining resident(s) for storage, guests, etc. Current occupants will take other roommate(s) or move to another available space should they choose not to buy out the unit.


The contract for Housing is a legal document that encompasses the entire academic year. The Contract Release policy and associated forms can be found HERE.


Each resident has a $150 deposit on file with HRL. This deposit will remain on file until the resident moves out of campus housing and/or departs from the University. Residents are liable for any balances remaining unpaid after the University's use of the security deposit. Deposits are returned approximately 30 business days after the end of the final semester of occupancy.


Enrollment status for residential students is monitored. Only currently enrolled students of the University may reside in University Housing. Preference is given to full time students with documented evidence of progression toward graduation. 


Residents are not required to depart their assigned unit during Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, or Spring Break; however, residents remaining over break periods are obligated to notify HRL in advance as instructed. Residents requesting to remain on campus beyond the date of the contract period may apply for an Extended Stay. Extended Stay requests are not guaranteed.


HRL is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, comfortable, and supportive residential experience for all students in GVSU's living centers and apartments. Gender Inclusive Housing, defined as multi-occupancy apartment-style housing shared by students without regard to sex or gender, is available to all students whose needs are not met by traditional housing. Gender Inclusive Housing supports GVSU’s non-discrimination policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression and affirms the university’s commitment to creating welcoming and affirming campuses for all Lakers. Any student may request Gender Inclusive Housing by submitting the Gender Inclusive Housing Application and indicating any requests regarding potential roommates and building placement.


Room Change requests are reviewed on a case by case basis, processed based on availability, and are not guaranteed. Residents interested in a room change may submit a request via their assigned RA, Assistant Living Center Director, or Living Center Director. It is the responsibility of the student to be aware of any billing implications and abide by all check-in and check-out instructions related to a room change. Repeated room changes are subject to administrative fees. Unauthorized room changes are prohibited and will result in referral to the HRL Conduct Process.


The accommodations granted by the University Housing contract may be used only by the assigned student. The contract and housing assignment is made to a single individual and may not be assigned or otherwise transferred to others, nor may the space be sublet or otherwise placed in the occupancy, control, or care of another person or entity.

Section 10 Prohibited Behavior


Chalking at the University is permitted in certain designated sidewalk locations and only for the purpose of announcing campus activities, events, or meetings of registered student organizations or University sponsorships. Click here for more information on chalking


Residents are prohibited from vandalizing, damaging, or destroying University or another individuals’ property. Any damages to the community will be charged to the individual(s) who caused the damage, or may be charged to all residents who live in that community. Please see additional information in the Student Code of Conduct (2.2.2). 


Conduct which disrupts the orderly administration or functioning of the University or any of its activities is prohibited. Please see additional information in the Student Code of Conduct (2.2.3). 


HRL abides by the restrictions and procedures of Michigan gambling laws. Please see additional information in the Student Code of Conduct (2.2.5). 


Residents may not adversely interfere with the learning environment of another individual. Please visit University Policies for additional information. 


The viewing of prerecorded content (VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc.) in public areas including community centers, great rooms, lounges, and lobbies is considered licensed intellectual property and is prohibited by federal law.


Posting on community bulletin boards or in any public area is prohibited by anyone other than HRL staff members. Unauthorized postings will be removed.


For the safety of all residents, playing sports within any living area is prohibited. Such activities must be confined to the outdoor areas, away from all buildings. Any damage caused by flying objects, equipment, or recreational activity will be charged to the resident(s) involved.


Residents may not use University property, including housing units and public areas, for soliciting, or for commercial or business purposes. Please see the Commercial Activity Policy for more information. 


Smoking is prohibited inside and within 25 feet of all University buildings, including living centers and apartments. Please see the Smoking and Vaping Policy for more information.

Section 11 Prohibited Items


The following items are prohibited in all campus housing units:

  • Air conditioners (window/portable)
  • Sandwich makers/grills, hot plates, rice cookers, Crock-Pots, waffle makers, toaster ovens, and toasters (toasters, Crock-Pots and rice cookers are only permitted in apartments and apartment-style living centers)
  • Halogen bulbs or lamps, multi-light lamps with plastic shades
  • Candles/incense, with or without wicks, and open flames
  • Strobe lights, lava lamps, and black lights
  • Major appliances (freezers, dishwashers, washers, dryers, etc.)
  • Extension cords, outlet adapters, or multiple plugs — except for power strips with built-in circuit breakers (limit of one power strip per resident)
  • Electrical appliances without a “UL Certified” label


Bicycles are prohibited from entering all housing buildings. Bicycles are not to be walked through the hallways, stored in public areas, or brought into rooms/apartments/units. Bicycles must be properly stored in designated bike racks. Bicycles should be secured with a bike lock and registered with GVPD.


Operation of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) is prohibited over University property by students, employees, vendors, contractors and other members of the public. Please refer to the GVSU Unmanned Aircraft System/Drone Policy for more information.


Only small pocketknives (with blades less than two inches) and kitchen knives are permitted in the residential communities. Please see additional information in the Student Code


Hoverboards may not be used or stored in housing buildings. 


Gas grills are provided in various housing communities. Residents of Laker Village may store and utilize gas grills outside. Gas grills may only be used in open areas with no overhead obstructions (i.e. awnings or balconies). Gas grills must be attended at all times while in use. Gas grills and propane tanks must be stored outside at all times. No charcoal grills are permitted.


The use of rollerblades, skateboards, or scooters is prohibited inside of all University buildings, including all in campus housing units.

Page last modified May 3, 2019